Community Digest

Top new questions this week:

Why does the infamous "ENGAGERIDLEYMOTHERFUCKER" Metroid password break NES emulators?

For those who are unfamiliar, the original NES Metroid was one of many NES games to use passwords as a means to save progress. Later, this password system was leveraged to create unusual effects in ...

emulation nes nintendo bugs  
asked by Badasahog 67 votes
answered by NobodyNada 179 votes

Why was manual branch suggestion abandoned?

Once pipelined CPUs became common, a common issue arrived as a result of taking the wrong branch of a conditional jump, and thus needing to flush the pipeline. As a result branch prediction mechanisms ...

hardware cpu performance  
asked by Badasahog 32 votes
answered by Paul A. Clayton 22 votes

Why couldn't early C compilers handle variable declarations between statements?

In modern C, you may place variable declarations between statements: do_something(); int x; x = something_else(); However, older C compilers required that variables are declared before all statements:...

history c compilers design-choices  
asked by DrSheldon 24 votes
answered by supercat 28 votes

In x86 real mode, how does BIOS know what hardware is present?

I know that BIOS is obsolete, hence why I'm asking here :-) BIOS needed to do things like start loading the OS, for which it (usually?) would have needed things like a hard disk driver. However, BIOS ...

ibm-pc x86 bios  
asked by Michael Stachowsky 17 votes
answered by ssokolow 27 votes

Why do drives occupy memory on Amigas

I was reading this question, and it sparked an old memory. I had an Amiga 600 a long time ago. And I used to play Secrets of Monkey Island on it, great game. But then I upgraded the computer and ...

amiga memory  
asked by OmarL 17 votes
answered by Jean-François Fabre 18 votes

If a PS/2 device on a 32-bit x86 sends a byte to the IO port 0x60 and you read it, what happens next?

I'm writing a hobby OS and the first thing I want to do is access PS/2 devices (it's a somewhat legacy, 32 bit OS, so I figured it's relevant to ask here?). I can see my PS/2 devices and I want to ...

ibm-pc x86 ports io  
asked by Michael Stachowsky 13 votes
answered by tofro 19 votes

McDonnell-Douglas 16-bit microprocessor?

I've been working on the NatSemi PACE article and I'm trying to track down a bit of trivia... someone inserted a statement: McDonnell Douglas produced a classified military 16-bit processor called ...

asked by Maury Markowitz 9 votes
answered by Maury Markowitz 5 votes

Greatest hits from previous weeks:

Why do some people say PHP was "Pretty Home Page"? Was it once PHP's real name?

"Pretty Home Page" is not found in official PHP history. But I saw several people call PHP that way on the internet, and even in some books, teaching & publications: An Experimental ...

history php  
asked by DungSaga 30 votes
answered by Raffzahn 45 votes

How is it possible that classic 3D video games such as Super Mario 64 and Ocarina of Time can contain such bizarre "glitches"?

I've been watching "speedrunners" play those games for quite some time. I still can't believe what my eyes are seeing. Somehow, they have managed to find bizarre bugs in the games which ...

nintendo-64 game-consoles glitches  
asked by Dewsnap 49 votes
answered by wizzwizz4 112 votes

Why do Game Boy games have explicit save functions, instead of using battery-backed non-volatile cartridge SRAM to store the game state?

Game Boy games used a battery-backed SRAM module for their save states. Since the SRAM module retains its whole content, why do Game Boy games always need a manual save operation? Wouldn't it be much ...

game-cartridge game-boy  
asked by Dakkaron 37 votes
answered by knol 34 votes

When did double-keying cease to be a common practice in verification?

In an IBM service bureau in the early 1960’s all data was keyed twice. The first time the holes were punched into cards. The 2nd time a verifier checked that the correct holes had been punched. ...

asked by Natalie 14 votes
answered by JeremyP 29 votes

What was the first programming book

I'm curious, what was the first book, about programming for digital computers. I tried to google it, but it led me to multiple results. I'm mostly interested in the language it was about and the ...

history programming documentation  
asked by Bálint 43 votes
answered by Jerry Coffin 52 votes

How were files transferred between different systems in the late 1980s?

Today there are adapters available allowing you to connect historic floppy drives to a modern PC. This allows you to copy data from historic floppy disks to the PC. In the late 1980s and the early ...

history data-transfer old-hardware-adaptation  
asked by Martin Rosenau 45 votes
answered by Raffzahn 56 votes

What does a Nintendo Game Boy do when turned on without a game cartridge inserted?

When a Nintendo Game Boy is turned on, it displays a logo read from the cartridge (looking like this) before starting the game. What does it display if there's no cartridge inserted from which to read ...

asked by cjs 26 votes
answered by Kaz 33 votes

Can you answer these questions?

DEC RdbStar information?

I'm putting together an article on TPC-C, and while chasing down leads its primary author mentioned the RdbStar project at DEC. As he described it, the manager of DEC's storage department (Jim Grey? ...

dec database reference-request  
asked by Maury Markowitz 2 votes

Looking for a multiline text gadget for Intuition on a 1.3 Amiga

I've come to understand that Intuition, the GUI framework on the stock A500 has 4 types of gadgets: 'boolean' - checkboxes and buttons 'Proportional' - sliders string inputs integer inputs I'm ...

amiga amiga-500  
asked by Martin Cowie 3 votes

How is the ‘Coprocessor segment overrun’ exception supposed to be handled?

The Intel 80386 CPU didn't have an on-board x87 FPU (maybe with the exception of some non-Intel clones). It was, however, able to use either a 80287 or 80387 as an external FPU. When the x87 FPU ...

x86 80386 80387  
asked by DarkAtom 6 votes
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